Southern rolls to 11th in row behind Benton, routs City, 12-3

May 03, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

City's baseball team was ranked No. 20 entering yesterday's non-league clash at No. 19 Southern, had a 10-0 record and talked a good game.

But the Bulldogs (12-3 overall, 9-0 in the 4A division) played a better game and set the record straight, resulting in a 12-3 rout and Southern's 11th straight victory.

Spurred on by a pre-game quote from Knights ace John Hamilton (3-1) in a newspaper article in which Hamilton said he was "clocked between 85 [mph] and 90 [mph]," Southern's All-City pitcher James Benton (4-2) went the distance, walking -- three, striking out six and scattering five hits.

"I sat in every class reading the paper. I read it one more time in the locker room and came out fired up," said Benton, whose first-inning, run-scoring single gave Southern a 1-0 lead.

Hamilton (51 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings) entered the game averaging two strikeouts per inning. But Benton's hard-hitting teammates hit the hard-throwing senior for eight hits, including two separate run-scoring doubles by Jimmy Loetz (2-for-3, with a walk), a two-run home-run by Ken Tolodziecki and triples by Jason Peters and Chris Calvert -- the latter giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 first-inning lead.

Southern's Mike Cofelice went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

"His 85- or 90-mile-an-hour fastball just wasn't there," said Loetz.

Southern dominated so thoroughly that -- with two outs and a 12-3 lead in the fifth inning -- it nearly won via the 10-run rule. But Southern's Billy Thomas, the Bulldogs' RBI leader with 25, grounded out against Pat Mowray (2-0), who relieved Hamilton two batters earlier.

City came within 6-3 after a three-hit third, but the Bulldogs answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

"I got hit harder than I thought," said Hamilton, who struck out nine batters with seven walks. "They've got a good team and a good pitcher, but we're still undefeated in our conference [7-0 in the 3A] and we've got the playoffs."

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